Is It Worth Repairing A Sewing Machine?

Is It Worth Repairing A Sewing Machine?
A Sewing Machine

Almost every sewer has had moments when their beloved sewing machine needed to get some repairs done. And subsequently, after a while pondered on whether it was even worth it to repair the machine or whether they needed to replace it. Determining the value of repairing your sewing machine is a process that requires careful thought and consideration. Today’s article focuses on the question, is it worth repairing a sewing machine?

Yes! Repairing your sewing machine can be worth it! If you have kept your sewing machine in fairly good condition with regular maintenance, you can easily fix any problems and get to work.

However, as we expound on below, if your machine has several issues, such as needing constant repairs or is seriously outdated, you should consider skipping the repair and replacing the machine.

Repairing your machine instead of replacing it can be worth it in the right circumstances. In this article, we take an in-depth look at these circumstances and give a comprehensive guide on taking care of your sewing machine to ensure longevity, as well as give some troubleshooting tips.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Sewing Machine?

The cost of fixing a sewing machine is dependent on several variables, notably the problem with the machine. When repairing, most businesses also charge depending on the type of the sewing machine and not the brand.

Generally, mechanical machines will usually cost between 50 to 70 dollars, computerized machines approximately 80 to 100 dollars, and long-arm machines upwards of 100 dollars.

Most businesses also charge for service and replacement parts separately, so the cost may be higher if you need to replace any parts.

To save on some costs, you could consider repairing the sewing machine yourself. However, you should only take this option if you are not facing a serious or technical problem and are sure that you can do the repairs, or you might end up causing more problems.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Sewing Machine?

The lifespan of a sewing machine varies differently depending on several factors. On average, you can expect a well-built sewing machine to last for at least five years though machines can last for up to 25 years.

The lifespan of your sewing machine will depend on:

  • Maintenance

A well-maintained machine and serviced regularly will last much longer than a machine that you handle carelessly. A machine that you store poorly or do not maintain regularly will need frequent repairs and eventually replacement.

  • Machine quality

Machines made with high-quality materials and the required skill are more durable than poorly made machines. When buying a sewing machine, choose from trusted manufacturers with excellent recommendations.

  • Use

The use you put your sewing machine through is also a factor to consider. Machines used for domestic purposes last longer than similar machines for commercial use.

Suppose you want to increase the lifespan of your sewing machine. In that case, you can easily do this with regular clean-ups and servicing appointments, annual tune-ups at the repair shop, and replacing parts with spares of equal or higher quality.

When Should I Replace My Sewing Machine?

Deciding to replace a sewing machine is often a difficult choice for a sewer. You may instinctually want to hang on to your sewing machine, but you need to identify when it is time to move on. Below are some scenarios where you should replace your sewing machine.

  1. When the Sewing Machine Frequently Needs Repairs

When your machine frequently needs repairs such that the repair costs are greater than the benefit they give, it is time to get a new sewing machine. Spending large amounts of money to repair a poorly functioning machine constantly is frustrating and impractical.

While your emotional attachment to the machine may cause you to hold on to the machine for longer than necessary, doing so will prove more expensive in time and money. If you are a professional sewer, repairs may take days or weeks at a time, during which you lose the income that the machine would have generated.

  1. When the Machine Starts Ruining Your Work

If your sewing machine keeps ruining your work instead of working smoothly, no matter what you do, you may need to replace the sewing machine.

If the machine ruins one or two projects, it may be time for a repair, but it may be time for replacement rather than repair if it ruins project after project.

Some of the ways your machine could be ruining your work include constant oil leaks that damage the fabric and pull the material apart. These issues are usually irreversible and can be a source of serious frustration.

  1. When You Need to Upgrade Your Machine

The reasons for replacing your sewing machine do not need to be as sinister as ruining projects or never-ending repairs. Sometimes, no matter how well your machine works, it may just be outdated.

While you do not need to replace the machine every time an upgraded model comes out, you might need to replace it if it is outdated. If the available upgrades offer significantly higher efficiency, faster outputs, and overall better features, then it may be time to replace your sewing machine.

How Often Should You Have Your Sewing Machine Serviced?

We recommend taking your machine in for professional servicing annually. During this appointment, your machine will be cleaned, oiled, and all the functions checked to ensure they are working properly. However, the frequency of servicing will also depend on other factors.

If you use your machine more, such as commercial sewers, your machine will need servicing more than a sewer who uses their machine mainly for domestic purposes. Also, if you rarely use your machine, the lubricating oil may congeal and seize the machine, in which case you will need to service your machine before you use it.

Machines that also need more frequent servicing are those whose sewers use them for quilting or sewing through other heavy fabrics. This increased frequency is due to the lint build-up and possible tension and timing issues.

What Is Involved In Servicing a Sewing Machine? 

Below is a thorough breakdown of exactly what happens when a sewing machine is getting serviced.

  1. Cleaning

Cleaning does not mean just a surface or cosmetic clean to get the machine looking its best, but a deep clean of all its parts. The first thing you should remove is dust, fluff, and any broken thread pieces.

A common area for these to collect is between the feed dogs. To access this area easily, we recommend removing the needle plate and setting it aside carefully. Read the manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to remove it.

Then, gently use a nylon brush to clean the area out. (We don’t recommend using compressed air as this may cause the debris to lodge further in the machine) If the debris has gotten matted together, you could use a pin or needle to pick it out carefully.

Another place to check for fluff is in the path of the upper thread, where it may have collected at different points. Apart from cleaning between the feed dogs, open the machine up as much as you can and clean as much of the machine’s working parts as you can.

  1. Oiling

Oiling will largely depend on the sewing machine that you are using. Some sewing machines need oiling, and others don’t. To check if you need to oil your machine, review the manufacturer’s manual. If you do not need to oil it, the manual will state so explicitly, while if it does need oiling, it will clear instructions on how to go about this.

If you are oiling your machine, the first step is getting the right kind of oil. You must use sewing machine oil formulated to prevent friction in the machine parts and keep them working smoothly.

To lubricate, you will first need to remove the top part of the machine so that you can access the moving machine parts. For vintage machines, this involves tipping the top part on its side to open it, while on more modern versions, you may need to work open a few screws to gain access.

Then, slowly turn the wheel back and forth and note the touching points of your moving parts (where there is friction); these are the places you need to oil. Apply the needed amounts of sewing machine oil to these parts and allow time for the oil to lubricate these parts before you use your machine again fully.

  1. The bobbin

The bobbin is usually accessed differently depending on the type of machine that you are using. For some modern sewing machines, the bobbin is usually front-loading and is dropped horizontally into a mechanism in front of the needle plate.

In contrast, in some modern front-loading machines, the mechanism is accessed from the front of the machine. In some older machines, you can access the bobbin by sliding off a plate next to the needle plate.

Once you access the bobbin, remove the bobbin and bobbin case. Then remove the bobbin from the bobbin case and blow out any dust or debris.

After this, you can focus on the bobbin case holder, which has a hook that catches the upper thread and engages it with the lower thread to make stitches. Run your finger over the hook and use fine emery to smooth off any burrs you find.

Ensure you also examine the bobbin winder if your machine has one. Bobbins that you do not wind correctly will invariably cause you problems with your stitches.

  1. Timing

The main purpose of a sewing machine is to bring the needle and the shuttle hook together at the same place and time. No matter how small, any variance in this will result in either skipped stitches or a machine that does not sew at all.

Some of the reasons that can cause the timing to change are, catching a pin with your needle or a bent/broken needle. These can cause vibrations that move the gears or needle bar and throw the machine’s needle bar. Checking the timing of a sewing machine is a key part of servicing it.

  1. The functions

A key part of servicing a sewing machine is ensuring that all the functions work as they should. Start by checking the effectiveness of the zig-zag stitch, which gives the best indication of timing and tension.

Other sewing machine functions that you should check include the foot pressure, feed dogs’ mechanism, and the bobbin winder. A too-tight zig-zag stitch or skipped stitch indicates a problem with these two key features, and you will need to fix them.

Apart from these other elements in the servicing of a sewing machine include:

  • Check the motor brushes for older machines to ensure that the motor turns freely.
  • Tighten any wobbly or loose gears.
  • Check the feed dog height and alignment, ensuring that they are at the correct height and straight, not rubbing on the stitch plate.
  • Ensure that you center the needle in the needle plate in all four principal horizontal directions.
  • Check for excess play between the hook and hook driver.
  • Time the movement of the feed dog to the machine’s needle.

Why Is Singer Sewing Machine Jamming?

Jammed sewing machines is one of the most common problems faced by sewers. Some of the possible causes of a jammed machine are:

  • Accumulated dust in the feed dogs
  • The thread caught in the shuttle.
  • Lint in the hook and shuttle area

The corrective actions you can take to fix your jammed machine are:

  • Cleaning the machine thoroughly to remove all the lint and dust
  • Disassemble and clean the shuttle area.
  • Oil the machine to lubricate the moving parts.

How Do You Fix a Sewing Machine that Won’t Sew?

Several issues would cause a sewing machine not to sew. Below, we examine some of these issues and give helpful tips on how to troubleshoot these problems.

Problem 1: A Jammed Machine

As dramatic as it may sound, a jammed machine is one of the most common reasons a machine refuses to sew. The first step to fix this is to remove the fabric that you were trying to sew.

If it does not easily come off, gently tug on the fabric, and lift it enough to allow you to cut off the threads and pull the fabric free. Next, you must remove the jammed thread, which may require removing the bobbin and any other parts needed to release the jammed thread to get the machine sewing again.

A bent needle could also cause a thread jam. Check if the needle is damaged in any way and replace it as soon as possible if it is. To avoid further problems with the needle, always replace it after using it for approximately eight hours of work.

Problem 2: Shredding Thread

A constantly breaking or shredding thread can also cause the machine to jam. If this is what is happening, some of the possibilities you can check out are:

  • The thread is getting stuck on the thread spool. A nick at the spool’s end or even the notch designed to secure the thread’s end can cause this problem. You can fix this by altering the direction in which the thread feeds off the spool.
  • You are using old or poor-quality thread. The quality of the thread you use will determine whether it sheds a lot and jams your machine or stays durable as you sew. Check the thread properties before you buy any thread, and purchase thread from trusted manufacturers.
  • The needle. A needle that has sewn-over pins may have nicks that wreak havoc on the thread and cause it to shred, which will in turn eventually cause the machine to jam. If you are using special threads that do not fit into the standard needle’s eye, you can buy needles designed with larger paths instead.
  • Dust and lint. If your thread keeps breaking after checking, clean any dust and lint from the bobbin area and tension discs. Run your finger over the thread’s path and clear any burr or debris that may cause snags in the thread.

Problem 3: The Fabric Is Not Moving

This problem could also include the machine not feeding the material. One of the common problems that cause the fabric not to move and consequently the machine to not sew is trying to sew with the presser foot still upright.

The feed dogs cannot pull the fabric through if the presser foot is not down. When tried, the machine makes loud noises, and the thread jams around the fabric. The solution is to unclog the machine, remove the excess threads on the fabric, lower the foot, and start again.

Other reasons why the fabric is not moving may be:

  • The stitch length is set to zero
  • Low presser foot pressure
  • Lowered feed dogs
  • Knotted threads under the fabric

The corrective actions that you can take for these problems are:

  • Setting the required stitch length
  • Setting the correct presser foot pressure
  • Raising the feed dogs
  • Removing the fabric and undoing the knotted thread.

Problem 4: The Sewing Machine Refuses to Run

Some of the possible reasons, apart from jamming, that the sewing machine may refuse to run are:

  • Placing the presser foot incorrectly may result in it hitting the presser foot
  • The needle in the machine’s shuttle area

The corrective actions you can take include:

  • Tighten the presser foot and place it properly
  • Insert a needle and ensure that you place it in the right position.

Problem 5: Broken Needles

Broken needles can also cause the sewing machine not to run. Some of the reasons why you may constantly have broken needles include:

  • Using the wrong type of needle
  • Not inserting the needle fully
  • A loose needle clamp screw
  • A loose presser foot
  • Pulling the fabric

Some of the possible remedies for these problems include:

  • Using the correct needle size for the fabric.
  • Inserting the needle into the needle bar properly
  • Using the right presser foot
  • Tightening the needle clamp screw securely
  • Guiding the fabric gently instead of pulling it roughly.

How Do You Know If Your Sewing Machine Needs Oil?

First, it is important to know that not all sewing machines need to be oiled. The easiest way to know if your sewing machine needs oil is to check the manufacturer’s manual, which will state whether it needs oiling or not. If you do not have the manual with you, you can ask the manufacturer to send you one or download it online.

Although even machines that need oiling may come pre-lubricated, it is still a good idea to oil your machine regularly, especially if you use it often or frequently sew heavier fabrics.

What Part of the Sewing Machine Should Be Avoided When Oiling?

When oiling your machine, you should avoid parts such as the presser foot, needle, bobbin, or plate. These parts of the machine have contact with the fabric, as this will leave stains behind. Also, do not oil the tension discs, belts, rubber rings, and the handwheel release.

Conversely, the areas of the sewing machine that need attention when sewing are the faceplate, the handwheel area, and other moving parts in the machine’s interior.

How Do I Maintain My Sewing Machine?

The maintenance and proper care of a sewing machine help keep it working smoothly and increase its lifespan. Maintaining your sewing machine consists mainly of cleaning, oiling, and correct handling, some of which we covered in the servicing section.

Apart from the present care of the sewing machine, maintenance helps to make sure that the sewing machine will endure for a long time and have great long-term use.

Since we have already handled cleaning and oiling in the previous sections, this section will cover the correct handling techniques for the sewing machine. Correctly handling the sewing machine includes:

Setting Up the Machine

Below is a guide on correctly setting up your sewing machine.

  • Place the sewing machine on a hard and flat surface.
  • Install the right needle securely in the needle bar
  • Choose the right thread according to the fabric
  • Wind the thread around the bobbin
  • Thread the machine with help from the manual
  • Set the required stitch length
  • Balance the thread tension on the sewing machine

Adopting Safety Measures Before Sewing

  • Some of the safety measures to adopt before you start sewing include:
  • Ensure that the machine cord is in good condition.
  • When threading the needle, keep the feet from the treadle.
  • Move the needle to the highest position while you place the fabric for sewing.
  • Hold the ends of the loose top and bottom thread before you start the sewing machine.
  • Ensure that the sewing machine has enough lighting to prevent any accidents.

Following Safety Measures During Sewing

The safety measures you should be keen on as you sew include:

  • Use a needle guard to protect your fingers from the needle.
  • Sew at a slow, steady pace, or a pace that you can handle without problems
  • Keep a careful watch on the sounds that the machine makes. If the sewing machine makes any loud or abnormal sounds, stop sewing and get the machine checked by a machine technician.

Proper Handling of the Tools and Equipment

Some of the ways you can ensure you handle your tools and equipment include:

  • The needles

The needles are what guide the thread through the fabric and create stitches that secure it. Using the right needle is paramount to having a great sewing experience.

Ensure that you purchase needles made from good stainless steel to prevent rusting. Ensure that the needle is right for the fabric and thread that you are using. To avoid damaging the needle, keep from pressing it on a hard surface.

Also, make sure that you store the needle in a clean and dry place. When using the needle, only use it for approximately eight hours of sewing before replacing it to prevent bent and broken needles that may ruin the machine.

  • The needle threader

A needle threader threads the sewing needle quickly and easily. Its eye should be large enough to hold the thread without forcing it through, and you should store it carefully to avoid damaging it at all.

  • The seam ripper

The purpose of the seam ripper is to remove fine stitches and pick off single threads. Ensure that you keep the seam ripper clean and sharp and only use it for its designated purpose.

Choose a seam ripper that is appropriate for the fabric you are using. Heavier seam rippers are used for heavier jobs, while lighter ones cut through light threads. To keep it from damage, ensure that the seam ripper is covered when you are not using it.

Final Thoughts

Repairing your sewing machine can give you several more years of service and save you the costs of buying a new machine. However, a standard rule when choosing whether to repair or replace is to make sure that the cost of repairs is not more than the cost of the sewing machine.

Also, if you are replacing sewing machine parts, make sure that the spares you get are of as good quality and designed for that machine. Still, the question remains,

Is It Worth Repairing a Sewing Machine

Yes! Repairing a sewing machine can be worth it. If the sewing machine you want to repair is in good condition and you have maintained regular maintenance, repairing the machine can be worth it.

We appreciate you for taking the time to read the article, and I hope that it has answered any questions you had. If you want to share your comments, questions, and suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

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